. "11 Tools, Instrumentation, and Facilities for Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics Research." Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics: The Science of the World Around Us. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.
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Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics: The Science of the World Around Us
tools, or adapt tools for new applications, that will benefit CMMP, other scientific disciplines, and society at large.
TOOLS AND INSTRUMENTATION FOR CMMP RESEARCH
Measurement techniques designed to probe the properties of matter at smaller length, time, or energy scales or with greater quantitative resolution and sensitivity advance the forefront of condensed-matter and materials physics research. Likewise, techniques designed to synthesize high-quality materials with precisely controlled structures underpin many great CMMP discoveries. By pushing the boundaries of materials fabrication and measurement forward, experimental CMMP researchers have uncovered new phenomena that were often unanticipated. These discoveries have not only transformed CMMP, but they themselves have led in turn to new ways to manipulate and image matter, crucial to many new technological advances with a broad range of applications.
New computational and theoretical techniques that push forward the boundaries of prediction also play a prominent role in advancing CMMP. To some extent, theory and computation are interlinked—theory nearly always forms the basis for new approximations or algorithms that substantially increase the efficiency of computations. Conversely, numerical computation is often indispensable in theory. Theoretical innovations, such as the application of field theories to condensed-matter systems and linear response theory have not only allowed researchers to tackle previously intractable problems, but, like many of the greatest experimental and computational techniques, have also changed the landscape of CMMP by revealing unexpected phenomena or deep, previously hidden connections among phenomena. As discussed later, computation can dramatically amplify the power of analytical tools. Indeed, the first electronic digital computer itself was built in order to carry out theoretical CMMP calculations.
The research community is at the brink of an era in which powerful computer simulations will be integrated into measurement tools, enabling the extraction of information in unprecedented detail from measured quantities. Simulations will extend the reach of analytical theoretical techniques, connecting conceptual developments to experimental measurements. The results will guide researchers through the realms of materials possibilities so vastly expanded by the ability to control the structure of the material at the nanoscale. Closing the loop, new detectors and devices will be made possible by new, purposefully designed, functional materials to further increase the power of measurements. Some of these breakthroughs will be made in single-investigator laboratories and, following the example of the scanning tunneling microscope, will turn into commodity instruments. Other advances will rely on the unique powers of staggeringly expensive large-scale instruments and teams of experts supported by large national facilities; these tools will need to be